“Go Big Or Go Home.” That’s what I often advise my students when I’m helping them take on a new project or launch a new business. And now I know that Google’s CEO agrees with me.
I just saw a Wired magazine article that was published this week. In it, Google CEO Larry Page sat down for a rare interview with one of the magazine’s editors – and this caught my eye:
Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.
That’s why Page expects his employees to create products and services that are 10 times better than the competition.
So Larry’s not comfortable sitting still making mere marginal improvements. He’s an entrepreneur who wants to see huge progress, which is probably why he’s running a company with a market capitalization of more than $200 billion.
And Google’s certainly no ordinary company. They’re the ones who took it upon themselves to create detailed maps of the entire Earth’s surface (with Street Views for many countries), index the world’s books, and provide email with seemingly unlimited storage.
Google even offers the Google Lunar X Prize – a total of $30 million for the first teams to land a robot on the surface of the Moon.
Going to the Moon? Now that’s going big! As Larry Page points out:
Investors always worry, “Oh, you guys are going to spend too much money on these crazy things.” … If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.
Larry notes that a problem in many of today’s companies is that they think too small:
How exciting is it to come to work if the best you can do is trounce some other company that does roughly the same thing? That’s why most companies decay slowly over time. They tend to do approximately what they did before, with a few minor changes. It’s natural for people to want to work on things that they know aren’t going to fail. But incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time.
So spend at least a few hours each week thinking about how to go really big – making those 1000 percent improvements just like Google. You’ll be a better entrepreneur and probably have a lot more fun, too.
Remember, if it sounds crazy, it could just be your next $1 million idea.